It may strike you as funny or a bit odd that I would say this was my favorite recipe from the excellent The Primal Blueprint Cookbook by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier. It would have struck me as pretty funny about nine months ago, too. I grew up in a family that simply didn’t eat cabbage. I knew people who did, and I remember jokes from my childhood about how boiled cabbage smells (it can smell sulphurous, a bit like a rotten egg), but nobody in my family ever cooked it, on either side, from my great grandparents on down. It just wasn’t part of our diet.
I’d always assumed that my family avoided cabbage because it was simply no good. I remember having it at a friend’s house when I was young, and it was terrible—her mother had boiled it to mush.
That’s why this recipe was such a revelation to me! It is so simple that I thought it was kind of a throw-away, just something added because they were trying to meet a minimum recipe quota. Still, the simplicity of the recipe (it only has four ingredients) appealed to me, so I gave it a try, and it’s now one of my regular recipes. I’m so glad cool weather has finally come back to Austin so that I can turn my oven on and make cabbage and sausage again!
This could be called a two ingredient recipe, since the only two required ingredients are cabbage and sausage. The other ingredients are optional. They are butter and salt. If you want a more Paleo friendly recipe, you could leave out the butter and go with a lowfat sausage, but I prefer mine primal—I add dabs of butter all over the top! I do go for an excellent sausage, though. I’ve tried making it with pork Andouille, and I liked it a lot, but my favorite sausage for this recipe is one that I get at Whole Foods. It’s called Pederson’s Sweet German Sausage, and it tastes great! It’s lightly smoked, and, despite being called “sweet”, it has less than one gram of carbohydrates per serving, so it’s a low carb sausage as well (I should point out here that my boyfriend Michael prefers the Pederson’s Smoked Jalapeno sausage, so we usually go back and forth between that one and the Sweet German for the sake of variety).
It turns out that I love cabbage, which is great, because cabbage is full of nutrition. And when cooked this way (roasted in the oven), it doesn’t give off that stinky sulfur smell. The recipe takes me between 45 minutes and an hour to finish, but the actual work time is truly only about five minutes, so most of the time is simply spent waiting for the oven to do its job. Here’s my version of the recipe, which might vary slightly from the book version.
Primal Cabbage and Sausage Recipe
- 1 Head of Cabbage (I prefer a cabbage that is on the “looser” side—not quite so densely packed—so if it feels like a bowling ball, choose a different one)
- 1 sausage, approximately 12 ounces to 1 pound in weight—I go for fully cooked sausages only for this recipe
- Salt to taste (varies depending on the sausage you choose)
- Butter—about 4 tablespoons, cut into pats
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
To assemble the dish, cut the cabbage in half by bisecting it through the core, so that it comes apart into two halves. This will allow you to see how deeply the hard core runs. Take a paring knife and cut away the core and discard (I save this and give it to my backyard hens). Next, take a large chef’s knife and cut each cabbage half into strips about ½ inch to ¾ inch wide. Chop the other half in the same way.
Take a large baking dish such as a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex dish and butter the bottom and sides. Add the chopped cabbage to the dish. Sprinkle it with salt.
Next, chop your sausage into rounds about ½ inch thick. You can do this on the bias or straight through the length, depending on your preference. Sprinkle the sausage over the top of the cabbage. Sprinkle the butter (if using) evenly over the top of everything else. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place the dish in the oven and cook for 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, remove the foil carefully by lifting it away from you, so the escaping steam doesn’t burn you. Discard the foil. Toss the cabbage and sausage with some tongs. Put it back in the oven, uncovered, for 10 more minutes.
This next step requires you to use your judgment. When the 10 minutes has passed, take a look at the dish and see if it looks done. Some cabbages are more watery, so if it’s too watery you can put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. If it looks done to you, it’s good to go. Whether you want to cook it more at this point is truly a matter of preference. If you want the cabbage to be very soft, you can continue cooking it. If you prefer it with a bit of crunch, you can stop cooking as soon as it looks done. I have tried it all different ways, and I prefer it somewhere in the middle—I like it cooked all the way through so it is soft, but not to the point where it starts to become browned.
Once it’s done to your satisfaction, toss it again and serve!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. If you are starting out on the Primal Method, then I think The Primal Blueprint Cookbook is a must-have. It is filled with simple and delicious recipes like this one.